Tuesday, July 23, 2013

on my boy being one and letting go

This time last year, I had been at the hospital almost 12 hours, and I was still in labor. Eventually he came out in the water.

This year, I am just so thankful to not be where I was then. Oh, and for this cute, handsome, funny, sweet, darling little boy.

I didn't think about it until today, but it's sort of fitting that I gave all his baby clothes, car seat, some toys and things away last week. Who knows when we'll have a boy again, and a lady on freecycle is - and needed things.

It was harder than I thought it would be. But now that it's done, it feels good, although a little empty still.

Baby's grow up. I'm okay with that for today. Just don't let him turn into a man.

*photos with him in the red shirt (aka the really nice ones) were taken by my friend Rachel. Thanks Rachel!

Friday, July 19, 2013

dear house

Dear House,

Thank you for two years of keeping us safe, warm, and cool. This is the longest relationship we've had with a house - outside of our parents'. I hope you've enjoyed our time.

I hope you've appreciated the routine cleaning you've received (as compared to before). I hope you don't mind, though, that you now get food on your walls from the babes and pee on your carpet once in a while. How do you like  your yellow walls?

Pleas forgive me when I complain that you don't have more windows that open, or that your AC isn't cool enough, or about your high ceilings. Deep down, I'm very grateful for you. I hope you know that.

You've seen a lot of changes in these two years - in both you and us. I don't know how much longer we'll be here, but we're not leaving anytime too soon (that I know of!). Don't be jealous if we dream of another home in the future. For right now, you are perfect.

Thanks for everything,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

three years ago...

All of her came out all at once in the early 3'oclock hour, after my grunts and groans of a jungle woman. And since, there have been many more groans and pains of love as I grew as a mother, and she as a daughter. Sleep issues, behavior issues, and issues of my heart as I became painfully aware of my selfishness and frailty. 

She continues to stretch me every day in self-control, attentiveness, and in giving love the hard way. She has an incredible sweetness, but it is mixed with a strong will and a tendency to complain. It is these last two that bring struggle because I have them too. I gave them to her by nature and example.

I pray that as I work to pull these weeds out of my heart, they will no longer give life to the weeds in her heart.

I know she will continue to teach me. We will contine to grow together. I have many regrets of the past three years in my mothering, but she is still healthy, smart, loving, and full of potienal. Glory be to God!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All These Things

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.“ Matt. 31-34

I have studied these verses slowly for many months. I have hungered to understand them. I have soaked them up and tried to digest them. For the longest time, I had no way to put the lessons these verses were teaching me into words. My thoughts were jumbled. The goings on in my heart hadn’t reached my head. Finally, I was able to translate some of it into words. It is not perfect, but it’s an attempt.

As a homemaker, it’s my job to manage “all these things”: food, clothing, home. And I believe it’s a lifelong process to learn to hand these things to God, to not be anxious, and yet, at the same time, embrace these God-given roles of home maker, wife and mother. 

My question, my search has been how do I seek the kingdom of God, in my life and in the management of “all these things”? The two are not separate.  I cannot seek the kingdom in my life, yet manage my household by the world’s guidelines. 

One answer is right there, in those verses. “Therefore do not worry.” That, for sure, is something I need to work on. And another is to replace that worry with glorifying God by bringing in the kingdom of God into my home. Luke 17:21b says, “For indeed the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom is a spiritual reality - not a specific place in the sky. As a homemaker, I can work to make our home a little kingdom of God. A place where we seek God in all we do and give glory to Him in “all these things.”

And how do we seek God in all we do, in all these things? Christ says “seek first.” The kingdom, the seeking must come before everything else. For me, that means working on doing everything in prayer - offering everything up to God. Before any action, word, purchase, decision: “Lord, show me Your will; guide my thoughts and actions. May it glorify You.” It can seem profound - or petty. “Lord bless me as I fold the laundry…” Still, in each case, it is important! If Christ is truly going to be “my life,” then that includes every thing. Even the seemingly trivial. This will be a lifelong work of learning to truly “seek first” in all and offer each thing up to Him.

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul talks about offering our lives as a living sacrifice. Our lives should be lived to worship Christ, and to live according to His ways. We should not be “conformed to this world” and use the world as our standard of living. We are to live our lives for Christ by seeking the kingdom of God in all these things. And God will be with us. He will bring us the kingdom of God. 

“Do not fear little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Do not worry. Seek Christ first. Offer all to God. Be grateful.

These are the themes running through my heart and stirring in my soul. 

By placing “all these things” - my life - in God’s hands, I’m putting Him first. I’m seeking His Kingdom, to fill my little kingdom. And rather than be anxious, I will be in wonder at His love and provision - and glorify His name.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Our Love Story: the first day of courting

On July 1st 2006, my husband and I went on our first date. I saw him play baseball for the first time. And he asked me if I would "court" him. (Just for the record, we just used that word to clarify that we were building a relationship toward marriage, not just because we "liked" each other.)

My parents and I came to visit him in the town he was playing summer ball. His parents came too. This was our first time seeing each other since we had started writing letters a few months before. On Friday evening, my parents and I arrived and we took Coach out to dinner. I was super nervous and a little disappointed that he showed up in a t-shirt and jeans, with a baseball cap, but still totally smitten. (I had dressed up a little. After all, I wanted to impress the guy!)

August 2006

The next morning he picked me up at the hotel for breakfast out. I tried to match him in attire by wearing a t-shirt and jeans, but he under-dressed me again by showing up in sweats. (Granted, he was going straight to the ball field afterwards...) Breakfast went well, yet I left feeling like he didn't like me. He had basically asked questions, then I talked. Then he'd be quiet until he asked another question.

He took me back to the hotel and his parents met us all there. He left shortly after, and the rest of us continued to visit. My father then told me that Coach had asked him if he could court me. I said, "That's good." and Coach's mother started crying. It was exciting, but a bit awkward.

September 2006
There were two games that day. Between the games, Coach came out to talk to all of us and at one point it was just him and me. This is one of those memories in my life that could be in the movies. Keith Urban's "Love Somebody Like You" was playing in the background. Coach looked straight in my eyes and said, "I talked to your dad and asked him permission to court you. And I was wondering what you thought about that." I said, "I think that sounds great!"

And I smiled. And he smiled.

It's been seven years.

Here's an excerpt from my journal detailed my thoughts about Coach after that weekend:

"The thing I noticed the most and that impressed me the most was his 'gentle strength.' He was so gentle and calm, yet a man in his initiative, decisiveness, and leadership. It's an amazing combination that I had only semi-formulated in my head. To be around him is soothing to my soul. It's healing to my heart.

He's strong in who he is, but gentle about it. I love his voice. He asked the best questions and really wanted the answers. I can't believe he's interested in me! And I can't believe he actually exists! I mean, he is amazing! He's so simple and kind. Soft-spoken and soft-hearted.

I am amazed at God that one, there's someone with such a personality - better than one I've formed in my head, and two - even more amazing - that God has brought this person into my life! Even if just up to this day - or maybe forever!"

September 2006

And I am amazed and grateful to this day! God outdid Himself in making my dreams come true.